When we think about the makeup of a workplace, tangible aspects often come to mind: location, office space, number of employees, revenue. However, certain intangibles are just as much a part of a company’s identity. Workplace culture tops this list.
Attracting and retaining talent relies heavily on the cohesiveness of worker attitudes, as well as the example set by company leadership. Are employees on board with their management’s vision? Are they motivated to learn and improve their professional skills? Do they adhere to company policies? Although management is tasked with setting the right example for their employees, if they don’t get buy-in, it can be awfully challenging to grow and succeed.
All industries deal with on-the-job safety in some way, whether you’re a 9-5er staring into a computer screen, a crane operator on a construction site or a brewer at a craft brewery. MySafetySign surveyed nearly 500 occupational safety professionals to gain insight into the biggest challenges their companies face when implementing health and safety practices. Many safety professionals claim that worker attitudes, including uninterested or obstructive staff, are barriers to a safe and healthy workplace, while management seems to be actively contributing to health and safety culture.
What can organizations do to narrow this gap between staff and leadership, and in turn provide more opportunities to propel business and improve efficiency? It comes down to two core tenets.
Make safety a collective task by involving all employees
Giving workers more ownership over their work and its outcomes is a great way to boost morale. Communicating goals as a shared responsibility gives workers the confidence they need to succeed at their jobs.
Making safety everyone’s responsibility is by no means a walk in the park; it involves drawing out a plan, setting meetings and designing effective communications. Rallying around safety is an essential step toward overcoming rifts in workplace culture. Potential approaches include crowdsourcing opinions through a company or division-wide survey on perceptions of workplace culture and effectiveness of training, and then following through on the survey results by proposing adjustments and enhancements to the safety program.
Building rapport between staff and company leadership
Last year, we mentioned celebrating achievements and recognizing accomplishments as two cornerstones of improving employee attitudes. In the same vein, fostering positive relationships between staff and management is a crucial step to overcoming workplace culture deficiencies. Holding companywide meetings or town halls can provide a forum for all levels of the organization to become more familiar and comfortable with each other. Thankfully, this is already commonplace in many businesses; 49% of safety professionals said senior management demonstrated a commitment to health and safety through regular staff forums or meetings. Safety should be a chief consideration in all industries, and that notion is tarnished if there’s a lack of trust among the workforce.
Have you dealt with occupational safety issues? Can you pinpoint roots in a lagging workplace culture? If so, you’re not alone — and there is a way out.
Mike Miles is the director of social media at SmartSign in New York City, the parent company for MySafetySign. SmartSign’s mission is to make signs and labels as effective as possible to prevent accidents and save lives.
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